We know we should, but drinking enough water during the day can be a struggle. It should be simple enough, but there can be barriers to staying hydrated. Some people don’t enjoy the taste of water. Others prefer drinking sugar sweetened beverages. Others get so busy with their day they don’t think to have some water to drink during a break or close at hand.
Water plays an important role in keeping us healthy and promoting weight loss.
Keeping the body hydrated helps the heart more easily pump blood through the blood vessels to the muscles. It also helps the muscles work efficiently. Dehydration can be a serious condition that can lead to problems ranging from swollen feet or a headache to life-threatening illnesses such as heat stroke.
Drinking just two 8-ounce glasses of water before meals has been shown to help people melt pounds away, according to researchers at Virginia Tech. The study included 48 adults between age 55 and 75 who were divided into two groups. One group drank two cups of water before meals and the other didn’t. All participants ate a low-calorie diet throughout the study. After 12 weeks, water drinkers lost about 15.5 pounds compared to non-water-drinking dieters, who lost only 11 pounds. Not only were those who drank water before meals more successful after 12 weeks, but they also kept the weight off for a full year after the weight loss study.
How much water do you need?
Individual water requirements vary depending on environmental and physical factors that can change every day so there’s no hard and fast rule about how much to drink. The key is to determine your own water needs based on your health, your environment, your exercise exertion level and how much you sweat. During the summer, it is especially important to make sure you are drinking enough water and don’t forget about your children and pets too. Children often want juice or a sugary beverage, but for meeting fluid needs water is still best.
A simple way to check to see if you are hydrated is to look at the color of your urine. Pale and clear means you’re well hydrated. If it’s dark, drink more fluids.
In addition to our fluid intake, water can also be gotten through eating a healthy diet. About 20 percent of your water intake comes from the foods you eat. The remaining 80 percent comes from beverages, including water, coffee, tea, milk, and anything liquid. Fruits with high water content include grapefruit with 91 percent, cantaloupe with 90 percent, and peaches with 88 percent water. Fruits containing 87 percent water by weight include pineapple, cranberries, oranges, and raspberries. On top of the vegetables list are cucumber and lettuce, consisting of 96 percent water. Zucchini, radishes and celery are comprised of 95 percent water. Ninety-four percent of tomato’s weight is water, and green cabbage is 93 percent water. Vegetables that contain 92 percent water include cauliflower, eggplant, red cabbage, peppers, and spinach. Broccoli is 91 percent water by weight. Additional healthy, hydrating foods include carrots with 87 percent water and green peas and white potatoes with 79 percent water.
Do you find the taste of water boring? Try infused water.
If you find water boring or if you just forget about drinking water there are a number of simple and healthy tricks you can use to boost your water intake during the day.
One way to drink more water is to make sure that it is easily available. Keep a pitcher or carafe of water close by to spur you into remembering to pour yourself a glass every so often. Choose a special pitcher to dedicate to just water. Find one that you like and that fits with your personality to make it special. Using a pretty or unique glass with your favorite sports team logo also will help you drink more water.
Water is best to stay hydrated, but it’s understandable if it turns you off because of the lack of flavor. Instead of reaching for other types of drinks or mix-in powders, you can use some fresh fruits or herbs to infuse some natural flavor into your water. The quickest and easiest way is to add some lemon to your water. Simply take a wedge of fresh lemon and squeeze it over your glass of water to give it a fresh citrus taste. In the winter or if you’re cold, try some lemon in hot water and see how comforting it is.
There are lots of recipes for infusing water with fresh ingredients. Try the following ideas to get started:
1 quart water
2 cups strawberries, thoroughly washed and sliced
Add the prepared berries to a large pitcher and fill the pitcher with water. Allow the berries to steep in the water, in the refrigerator, for 6 to 24 hours. The longer the berries steep, the stronger the flavor will be. Add ice and serve the red berry water. Make sure that each serving has a few slices of berries, for added color and flavor.
1 quart water
2 cups raspberries or blackberries, thoroughly washed
1 orange or lime, cut in ½ and sliced thin
Sprigs of fresh mint
1 quart of water
2 Kirby or English cucumbers, sliced very thin
1 lime, cut in ½ and sliced thin (optional)
Dill, basil or mint sprigs
1 quart water
¼ pineapple, sliced into very thin triangular wedges
Spearmint, lemon balm, apple mint or borage or lavender flowers
1 quart water
2 cups thin triangular wedges of watermelon, honeydew or cantaloupe
1 lime, sliced very thin
Simply slice your favorite fruit and place in an ice cube tray. Fill with water and freeze. Store them in an air tight container then when you want a drink simply pop them in your glass and fill with water for a cool, refreshing, flavorful drink.